July 15, 2019

Erasmus University Appoints First Ombuds

The large, public university in Rotterdam has named Edith Weijnen as its first Ombudsman, effective June 1, 2019. She will serve about 30,000 students and about 3,500 staff. According to an announcement from the university, the new Ombuds role is "part of a series of measures to ensure a safe work and study environment [and] for managing work pressure." The university will evaluate the results after a one-year pilot period.

Here are more details about the Erasmus University Ombuds:
The Ombudsman will work in an independent, impartial, autonomous and neutral way
The Ombudsman can facilitate complaint handling or put those involved on the right track, but can also identify issues herself and investigate these if needed. Students and employees can get in touch with the Ombudsman for more than just complaints. For instance, they can request advice, a referral to the correct body, a moderated discussion or mediation. They can also contact the Ombudsman if they are the subject of a complaint made by another person.
The Ombudsman also differs from other persons in the internal ‘safe work and study environment’ network as she is able to conduct independent investigations within the university, without obstruction. This concerns the background and circumstances surrounding a case. Depending on the conclusions, the Ombudsman can attempt to reach a solution by offering advice or through mediation.
Weijnen is a lawyer, with extensive experience in conflict resolution. She studied law in Leiden and Utrecht and environmental studies in Utrecht. (Erasmus University News.)

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